Titans receiver A.J. Brown did some impressive things during his rookie season.
But to hear him tell it, it wasn’t enough. The Titans fell short of winning the Super Bowl, and he fell short of his personal goals. And that’s his motivation for 2020.
“I fell short of my goals, but that’s the good thing about it,” Brown said. “I am blessed to be able to come back next year and try again and set higher goals. I am going to set higher goals and go to work. And as a team, we want more.”
Brown, the team’s second-round draft pick out of Ole Miss, led all rookies with 1,051 receiving yards in 2019. He also had eight touchdown receptions among his 52 catches, and he added 60 rushing yards with another score. He was the only NFL rookie since 1970 with 1,000-plus receiving yards and an average of 20-plus yards per reception. Brown led the NFL with 605 receiving yards over his final six games of the regular season.
Brown, for the record, had set a goal of 1,500 yards and 15 TDs.
During his rookie season, Brown said he improved. “I learned to adjust on the fly,” he said. “In the NFL, there are a lot of good players. You are going to learn new things every week to get an edge.”
Brown’s five 100-yard games led all rookie receivers in 2019 and were the most by any NFL rookie since Amari Cooper (five) in 2015. He became the fourth rookie since 1970 with at least four touchdown receptions of 50+ yards.
Along the way, he also learned he needed to get better, and he plans to do so this offseason. Brown was quieter in the postseason, partly because the team leaned more on the run game, and also because defenses focused more on slowing him down. Brown had three catches for 51 yards in the team’s AFC Championship Game loss to the Chiefs after tallying just two catches for 13 yards in the team’s first two postseason games.
“Just all around,” Brown said when asked what he needs to do to improve. “I just want to make the things I do good now, even better. And the things I need to work on, just handle those. Tom Brady told me work on the things you need to work on so you won’t really have those flaws.
“Everybody works hard, but if you work hard on the things you need to work on, then you are going to be a more complete player.”
As Brown gathered his belongings on locker room clean-out day on Monday, already he was contemplating the changes ahead on the team.
“It is different now (in the pros),” he said. “In college (at the end of the season), I could still go talk to my friends and everything. But it is different now. Everybody is going their separate ways. Some guys I probably won’t play with again, and I could be lined up against some of them.”
He was also looking ahead to the offseason, and thinking of ways to take his game to another level in Year 2.
“It is definitely a blessing,” Brown said of his rookie season. “I definitely came a long way. There were certain times that were really hard, and I fought my way through that. I am really blessed to be in this situation and even make it to the AFC Championship Game.
“I am really going to enjoy this offseason. It has been a long season. But I am going to get back to work and try and take this thing to another level.”